Tuesday 1, July 2014
Bible Passage: Esther 4: 1-17
Memory Verse: \"Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?\" Esther 4; 13-14 NIV
The situation in the world, and indeed our nation in recent times, brings to the fore the need to remind ourselves that we have to do something individually and collectively about this terrible scourge and the shedding of innocent blood on a daily basis and stand in support of the victims.
As we consider this, I wish to bring to our attention the story in the above Bible passage. It is the story of the planned annihilation of the Jews by Haman and the roles played by Queen Esther; a Jew, in the palace of King Xerxes, the King of the Persian empire, and Modecai, her uncle. Events got to a dangerous point when Haman persuaded the king to issue a decree that will lead to the total destruction of the Jews; just because of Haman's animosity towards Modecai, whose guts he couldn't stand. Modecai's warning to Esther in the memory verse is of particular importance here. In a desperate move to avert the impending danger, Modecai asked Esther to intervene. Esther was reluctant to accede to her uncle's request due to the tradition of the palace, that anyone (not even the Queen) who approaches the king without an invitation risks execution. Hence the historic warning in verse 14; '.. if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. Jesus also enjoined us to be our brother's keeper and also in Genesis 4:9, Cain, when God asked him of the whereabout of his brother; Abel, whom he murdered, retorted with a testy question, 'Am I my brother's keeper?'
The present situation in northern Nigeria and in the whole of the country brings the above story and question to mind. Christians and indeed many innocent Nigerians are being slaughtered and kidnapped on a daily basis by the despicable Boko Haram terrorists. It appears that the problem has become so complicated that the government and even the foreign nations who offered to help are at a quandary on what is going on and what to do. Yet, we Christians, who have the God-ordained authority to speak to situations and cause a change to be, unfortunately are keeping mum or making feeble efforts, paying lip service to the need for an affirmative action. Particularly those of us in the south. We go on as if the problem is theirs and does not and will not affect us!, 'sitting at ease in Zion'!
I was speaking to a brother in Kaduna over the weekend to ask after him and how his family is doing after the recent spate of bombings in the city. He expressed his regret at the seeming silence of those of us in the south to the plight of our northern brethren in the face of recent happenings. Our apathy and nonchalance to the plight of Christians living in the north is a serious cause of worry to him. This struck a chord in my heart and challenged me to think deeply as to what we can do in form of affirmative action to show our support and render a helping hand.
I want to request everyone of us to think of what we can do in form of an affirmative action to help the victims and also support the government in its efforts to bring this terrorist acts to an end. Don't sit on the fence and join those criticizing the government instead of lending a helping hand in terms of encouragement, advice and support. Using the media to shout 'Bring back our Girls' is good but not adequate. Marching on the streets, carrying placards is okay but hardly sufficient. We need an affirmative action in terms of prayer, financial and logistic support. We need to organize ourselves into vigilante groups, in support of the law enforcement agencies to provide information base and logistic support. I propose that we individually and/or collectively take the following steps:
1. Organize a vanguard to provide logistic and information support. Let's start 'Operation Know your Neighbor' in our communities and neighborhoods, so that we can identify strange people in our midst.
2. Lets encourage our defense agencies by letting them know that we appreciate what they are doing. We can organize financial aid and support for the families of those of them who lose their lives in the defense of our nation. Don't leave it to government alone. Enough of placing everything at the feet of government. Many of our churches are so big that they can make an impact that will have a bigger effect than that of government.
3. Above all, let our men of God come together and organize monthly prayer and fasting programmes all over the nation, with each State having its own day to pray and seek the intervention of God in the situation and affairs of our nation. I challenge the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) to rise up to the occasion in this regard. Let's go beyond rhetoric and mere platitudes, playing politics with religion and take an affirmative stand. Christians in Nigeria should arise and do something! Our bread and butter Christianity should stop! Remember the Bible says we should seek the peace of Jerusalem for therein we shall prosper. What is the worth of your prosperity, when you do not have peace? Christians, let's get our priorities right! Our leaders of faith should arise and mobilize their congregations to do something. Pastors, General Overseers, Bishops, Archbishops and so on, please bring the ingenuity you use to organize your various special programmes and building cathedrals to bear in an affirmative action by your church and ministry.
The Lord bless and keep you. May He make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace, now and forevermore. Have a splendid month.
1. Pray for our brethren in the North and all other places in our nation who are facing persecution and ask the Lord to help them to stand in this trying period.
2. Ask the Lord to protect them and bring an end to the daily massacre of our people in northern Nigeria.
3. Pray for the government of our President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and ask the Lord to give him the wisdom of Solomon and the courage of David in his efforts to bring peace and tranquility to our nation. That the Lord will help and strengthen him.
4. Lets pray for our nation and the body of faith. That the Lord will help us to stand perfect and complete. That we will not be part of the problem of our nation, by our ways and conformity, but that we will be solution givers to the problems and issues of our nation.
5. Pray and ask that the Lord will do what is good in his sight for your nation. That there will peace round its borders in Jesus name.
Grace Leadership Foundation
You can also read this message and previous ones at our web site:www.graceleadershipfoundation.org